Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recipe - Energy Balls

When I went to visit my friend Christine in Jacksonville, she introduced me to these most delicious and somewhat-healthy energy balls. I must warn you. They are addictive. When she pulled them out, I was a little turned off. They looked like uncooked meatballs, but, as her friend, I didn't want to hurt her feelings, so I tried them. I'm glad I did because they are SUPER YUMMY!

What's in them?

  1. 1 c - Oatmeal
  2. 1/2 c - Peanut Butter
  3. 1/3 c - of honey
  4. 1 c - Coconut Flakes
  5. 1/2 c - Ground Flaxseed
  6. 1/2 c - Mini Chocolate Chips
  7. 1 t -Vanilla

What do you do?

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Let the mixture chill for about 30 minutes to an hour
  3. Then take the mixture out of the fridge and make little balls with about a spoonful of ingredients
  4. Place them into a plastic container and put them back into the fridge for later consumption
I will eat these as snacks throughout the day. If I just need a little something, I go into my fridge, grab one and eat it. All the ingredients are pretty healthy, except maybe the chocolate.  You can always substitute with 80% dark chocolate and then it will make your recipe even healthier. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY - Picture Frame Revamp

I found these picture frames at a yard sale a few years ago and I fell in love with them because the colors matched my living room perfectly. The only thing I really didn't like were the gold frames. So I finally got the courage to paint them. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they turned out. 

What did I use?
  1. The frames
  2. Primer Spray Paint
  3. $ .99 White Spray Paint from Walmart
  4. Large Cardboard box
  5. Paper (or you can use painters tape to keep it a bit more safe)
What did I do

  1. I took white paper and covered the whole picture
  2. Then I sprayed a base coat of Primer Spray Paint
  3. After letting it dry, I sprayed several coats of the cheap white spray paint until I got the look I wanted. (I let it dry between each coat)
  4. When it totally dried I cleaned up the picture and hung it back up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

9 Uses of Baking Soda

Chemicals,  toxins, there are, sadly, way to many of these in the environment. Did you know that you can cut some of them out by using baking soda? WHAT?!? Yep. Here are 9 Uses of Baking Soda from the Check it out! Go to the link above to see the whole article. 
Toxic personal care products
As of today, our government does not require health studies or any pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though we are ‘eating’ them on a daily basis.

Household cleaners dangerous as well
According to the National Research Council, “less than 20 percent of chemicals in everyday use have been tested for acute effects and less than 10 percent have been tested for chronic, reproductive or mutagenic effects.”
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that about one third of substances used by the fragrance industry are toxic. Moreover, fragrance manufacturers do not have to list the ingredients that they use on labels, as they are considered ‘trade secrets. ‘For this reason, be suspect of anything labeled ‘fragrance.’
Baking soda to the rescue
Not only can baking soda replace many harsh household products, but it also deserves some space in your cosmetic bag. Using baking soda in place of some dangerous commercial products is a great way not only to stay toxin-free, but also a way to help reduce environmental toxins.
What exactly is baking soda?
Turns out that sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is a chemical salt that, in its natural form, is the mineral nahcolite.
...Either way, both methods produce an environmentally friendly product. The only caution we have for consumers is to stick to an aluminum-free brand of baking soda when possible.
Sodium bicarbonate helps to regulate pH. It keeps substances from being too acidic or too alkaline. Its ability to neutralize the pH of any substance it comes in contact with makes it highly effective for so many things. Baking soda can also help keep pH balance steady – a process known as buffering.
Here are nine ways you can put baking soda to work for you today:
Baking soda mixed with a little warm water is an excellent exfoliator for the face and other parts of the body. The baking soda will smooth the skin, remove dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling fresh and vibrant. You can even dab a little paste on acne spots. It will help to draw out toxins and reduce redness.
Relieve gout
Gout is a very painful and uncomfortable condition that is caused by uric acid that is overproduced by the body until it builds up to very high levels and settles in the joints. This causes painful swelling and inflammation. Mix two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with a teaspoon of baking soda and drink up! The baking soda will alkalinize the urine and neutralize the uric acid.
Wash fruits and vegetables
Baking soda is a safe way to remove dirt and residue from fresh fruit and vegetables. Sprinkle a little on a clean sponge, scrub and rinse.
Rid hair of build-up
If you use a lot of product in your hair and want the true “squeaky clean” feel, try baking soda. Combine one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of warm water and apply to damp hair. Comb through and rinse well.
Clean coffee and tea pots
To remove tea and coffee stains and reduce bitter taste left in mugs, use a solution of ¼ cup baking soda and 1 quart warm water. Some stubborn stains may require overnight soaking in the solution or some scrubbing with a soft sponge. Either way, you are left with a sparkling clean coffee pot and mugs.
Clean floors
To remove dirt and grime without scratching no-wax and tile floors, mix ½ cup baking soda in a bucket with warm water and scrub. Rinse clean after scrubbing. To remove scuff marks, put a little baking soda on a damp sponge, scrub lightly and rinse.
Deodorize drains
Nothing neutralizes odors better than baking soda. To keep your tub and sink drains smelling fresh, pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain while running some warm tap water down the drain. You can also pour some down your garbage disposal and run some warm water while running your disposal. Add a little baking soda to your dishwashing detergent to help fight stubborn stains and bacteria.
Ease itchiness and swelling
Skip the commercial creams and lotions and try baking soda for your itchy or irritated skin. You can ease uncomfortable itchiness and swelling from poison ivy or oak, as well as bug bites, with a little baking soda. Make a paste with a little baking soda and water and apply to the irritated area. This will work for bee stings and chicken pox as well.
baking sodaCar cleaner
Why pay a whole lot of money for a variety of different products to clean your car when all you need is a box of baking soda? You can use baking soda to clean the lights, windows, tires, floor mats, vinyl seats and more without fear of scratch marks. Simply mix ¼ cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water and apply with a clean soft rag or sponge. For really difficult stains, use a soft brush.
The next time you are at the store and you pass the baking soda, think twice. It may be inexpensive and seemingly unworthy, but in reality, baking soda is a wise, environmentally friendly and healthy thing to stock up on.
-The Alternative Daily

Monday, August 25, 2014

Patience Is a Virtue

*Warning -> This is a REALLY LONG post, but it's also REALLY good. So grab a cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy the challenge. :-) 

"Patience is a virtue, learn it while you can..." Yeah, yeah. We've all heard this before, but when you are at the end of your rope. What do you do? Let me be a bit transparent with you. I have Fibromyalgia. You may have already known this. You may have not.

Unfortunately, I have heard this term thrown around a lot. Some people with excruciating pain have been so labeled, as well as others with health problems that doctors didn’t know how to diagnose.

So how does it play out in my life? Glad you asked.  This is the best way for me to explain it. When it’s bad, it feels like someone took a bat to my whole body. I'm extremely sore ALL OVER. It’s also a nerve disease so it makes me very short- tempered.

Crying and nagging really irritate it. When I’m having a “fibro day” little things annoy me and it’s hard for me to handle life. Usually I will get super-upset which throws my health into a loop. I have neck problems as well and many times this messes with my neck. I can be in bed for a week, just healing from my bad day. Having children has made it worse because my nerves can get shot after a hard day with the kids.

It used to play out by me being annoyed which led to me getting angry, and, eventually, getting into it with my husband. After our disagreement, I would get super-sick and would end up in bed for a few days. Hubby used to tease me (afterwards, of course) that I couldn’t “fight” with him because I would get sick.

So patience is something I REALLY struggle with. 
It’s hard to be patient when your nerves are shot. 
It’s hard to be patient when you just don’t feel good. 
It’s hard to be patient when your kids are screaming and you are carrying a just-folded basket of laundry up the stairs and it falls down the stairs and totally gets messed up. Yep, that really happened to me. 
It’s hard to be patient when you have a 2-year old. PERIOD. 
It’s hard to be patient when you aren’t getting much sleep.

So, let me tell you about last Tuesday. It started with me picking up my violin that had been in the shop since February. It was finally fixed and I was happy to have it home.  I opened my trunk and it flew out and fell on the ground. I tried to save it and, in doing so, banged and cut my leg on the cement (I really don’t even know how that happened). While I’m trying to recover, my cell phone went flying and landed, YEP, in a puddle.  When lunch time came I opened the fridge and out came the blueberries. The package opened and they went flying in 10 different directions.  I hurried to clean them up as we were to have missionaries stay at our house and they were due to arrive in about 30 minutes. 

The day went on with all different "fun" events, including police surrounding an area gas station and me banging my tooth with a coffee cup.  Oh, and the worst, my son drops T's mommy-milk bottle on the ground and I lost most of the milk. (Sometimes it's ok to cry over spilled milk, especially that kind.) 

Around 3:30 PM, I left to get some iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I had to be at a church activity in about 30 minutes.  Just enough time to grab coffee, pick up a teen and be at the church. I pulled into the DD drive-thru and there were 10 cars. Not even joking. I have NEVER seen that many people there, in the middle of the afternoon. Yeah, maybe 2 or 3 but not 10. It was just one of those days. Patience…Yeah, not really.

So I called my mom and told her about it. Her first comment was “You need to go home and hide under the covers”. HAHAHA!  But then on a more serious note, I told her I had been studying the subject of patience with Beth Moore. We laughed together and I realized that I had just had practical life experiences to encourage me to be patient.

I know this is a LONG post, but hang in there. We are getting to the meat of the meal. How do we have patience? How can we have patience? What gives us that?

Paul is speaking to us in I Thessalonians 1:3:  Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

How do we get patience? …through hope…hope in what? Hope in our LORD JESUS CHRIST.

What is Hope?
Hope is a desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it. “Biblical hope is a positive outlook toward an unexpected end” – Beth Moore

We can have patience knowing that we have an hope, hope in eternity (heaven), hope in an expected end -> (others going to heaven through our testimony).

 Look at Job.  Job lost his kids, his wealth and his health in a VERY short time, but he had hope. Where did he get it?

Job 23:8-10 says “ Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Job was at such a low time in his life. He couldn’t feel God or even perceive him but GET THIS.  We may lose our path but God never loses us.

1. When we are in the middle of the trial, know that God still knows where we are and He's with us.

2. Also know that it's a time that we can shine His light. 

“...when we are tried, we SHALL come forth as gold".

Gold is ONLY as costly as how many times it’s been run through a fire.  24k means its been burned 24 times. The more you are brought through the fire the more your light will shine through, making you a rare vessel for Him.

“The chief objective of the refiner is to bring the gold to a point of greatest reflection” 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. It won’t always be easy but it will be worth it.

We have Christ in us so when we go through those fires, we can reflect Him. 

“It is the light which exposes it’s qualities” –Beth Moore.  The refiners fire is painful but we have hope. The Refiner is helping to conform us to His likeness.

Friends, patience is HARD but when we go through trials whether small or LARGE we get the chance to reflect Christ. Our kids see us, our friends see us. What are we reflecting?

We have HOPE in eternity. We have hope in conforming to Christ. We have God and that’s enough. 

So let’s take a deep breath. Lift our hands and hearts up to God. Ask the Father to guide us, the Son to cleanse us and the Holy Spirit to fill us up. Let God give you the patience you need to get through this fire and reflect upward.

Col. 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: - Rejoicing in the Present

*Thanks to Beth Moore for her Bible Study, Living Beyond Yourself where I got a lot of help and of course to my Father in Heaven who guided my heart. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dryer Revamp

I love my washer and dryer. In fact, they are dear to me because of the sacrifice that was made by my husband. Jer DOES NOT like Black Friday.  When we were first married, he woke up around 1AM to wait in line at Sears to get us a GREAT deal on the set. 

So it was a sad day when I noticed the top of my dryer was rusting. Why, you ask? I would use the top as a shelf and the bleach that was sitting there would spill out. Over the years, it ate away at the top. So my nice dryer soon had a very rusty old look on top. It's a good dryer-- it just has an ugly look. :-) 

So when I saw that you could paint your dryer I jumped on the idea and did it! I made a chalkboard on top. YEP! I really did it and it turned out pretty cute.

What did I use?

  1. Ultra-cover Rustoleum Primer 
  2. Chalkboard Spray Paint
  3. Glaze
  4. My Dryer
  5. Painters Tape (though next time I would probably use packaging tape or Duck Tape)
What did I do?
  1. First I outlined my dryer with paper and painters tape  (the painters tape didn't work very well so I would encourage you to use a stickier tape)
  2. Next I sprayed a coat of primer and let it dry
  3. Then I sprayed a couple coats of Chalkboard Paint
  4. Finally after that was dry, I sprayed a coat of clear glaze. 
  5. When it was all dried and done, I wrote my laundry schedule and a couple of encouraging phrases on my chalkboard
It's definitely not perfect, but perfect for me. :-). You can actually paint the whole washer and dryer. Check out the ideas on Pinterest. - Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I had been praying after my devotions and I opened my eyes. A storm outside was raging and it was pouring rain. The curtains were open and the rain on my glass doors looked like tears pouring down the door. 

It was as if the windows of heaven had been open and the tears of God came pouring down. I had been studying about Noah, and, so, Gen. 6: 5-6 was on my heart "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Beth Moore teaches about grief in her book Living Beyond Yourself. She says that "the word grief here comes from the Greek word Nacham and it embodies the expression of drawing breath or groaning as one would do while sobbing in grief. Imagine God expressing such grief. It was as if the sorrow of God took on physical form, much like ours does when we cry....the grief cut straight to the heart of God and He hurt."

The world is wicked. Hundreds, Thousands, Millions of people, because of their lack of trust in Jesus, are going to Hell. This cuts at the heart of God. He cries over the lack of belief. (See the Story of Lazarus). Do you? Does it hurt your heart that your neighbors, that people around you are lost, in need of a Savior. Do you cry over lost souls? Does it grieve you?
I pray that we will not only have eyes to see the lost but we will have tears.

Tears, Do you have them? If you don’t, pray for them today. –Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DIY - Corner Cupboard ReVamp

I was out thrift store shopping with one of my friends, when we came to a boutique. I found this corner shelf for $15 and bought it. 

Now, I forgot to take pictures of it before I sprayed the primer on. So, the first picture is before the new shelves and the 2nd picture is with primer.  You get the idea. :-) 

Check out the end of the blog to see the finished product.

What Did I Use?

  1. $15 Corner Shelf Unit
  2. Rustoleum Ultra Cover Primer 
  3. White Paint
  4. Paint Brush
  5. Sand Paper

What Did I Do?

  1. First I took the door knob off the cupboard part
  2. Then I sprayed the primer all over the cupboard
  3. I let that dry and then painted a layer of white paint over the WHOLE unit. (above and under the shelves and backs, EVERYTHING)
  4. I did this 3 times (I let it dry between painting sessions)
  5. After the paint dried for the 3rd time, I used the sand paper to sand different corners and shelves to give it an antique look.
It turned out SUPER cute! YAY!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grains of Sand

Isn't God amazing!!!! This is sand. Yep, you're looking at sand. This picture is the sand from a beach in Maui. Dr. Greenburg invented a microscope that can see grains of sand and this is what he sees every day. In fact here is a little bit about Dr. Greenburg...

From sandgrain...

"Originally a photographer and filmmaker, at the age of 33 he moved from Los Angeles to London to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical research from University College London. Dr. Greenberg was an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California during the 1980’s. During the 1990’s he invented and developed high-definition, three-dimensional light microscopes, for which he was issued eighteen US patents.

Since 2001, Dr. Greenberg focuses his microscopes on common objects, such as grains of sand, flowers, and food. These everyday objects take on a new reality when magnified hundreds of times, revealing hidden and unexpected aspects of nature"

We have an awesome God who even made the sand that we walk on to be beautiful and unique in it's own way. 

This is like life. Our life is so full of people. After a while when we look out, they all start looking the same. They are just people, but this is where we must stop. We must ask God to give us ears to really hear the hearts of people. Eyes, to see the needs. Hearts that are tender. Get out your God-given microscope and see the beauty and uniqueness in people. Ask God to give you love for these. He cared enough to create them and then send His Son to save them. Do we see them? Do we really see them? 

God is so great. God is so good! Thank you for using sand to remind us of your amazing awesomeness. - Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Essential Oils

Hey everyone!   I’m sure you have seen or read or heard about essential oils and the amazing effects that they can have on our minds and bodies.  I recently interested in them after dealing with a HORRIBLE sickness that I just couldn’t fight.  Oils have so many neat benefits and I hope that if you don’t know much about them, you will start researching them.  Let me introduce to you to my friend Hannah. She is a sweet Christian as well as having a passion to help other woman know more on this subject. You will probably hear more from her over the next couple months as I will be having her share some of her knowledge with us. Here’s she is…

I'm so excited to be sharing with you my passion for essential oils. I am not a doctor, just a wife and mom who has done some research into natural ways to help my family and friends. I'm also not opposed to doctors! But I love having some natural options and alternatives at home so I don't have to head to a doctor's office for minor issues.
The other night my almost-3-year-old was not feeling well. He was rather calm and somewhat lethargic, very unusual for him, and then he developed a fever. I continued to watch him for awhile, as I know a fever is the body's way of fighting infection. However, the fever persisted, and I wanted to help my little guy find some relief! I reached for my essential oils (I only use Young Living essential oils; they are 100% pure and have a seed-to-seal promise that is unparalleled in quality!). I applied diluted Thieves oil to his feet once an hour for three hours. I also applied a drop of diluted peppermint* around his navel half-way through the process and kept a close eye on him. We diffused the Thieves oil as well. 

The Thieves blend is a remarkable oil, with its history dating back to the Black Plague. A band of robbers would steal from those who had the Black Plague, yet they managed to stay healthy! When caught, they gave up their secret: they were from a long line of apothecaries and spice traders, and they had covered their bodies in a mixture of oils to protect themselves! Young Living's Thieves blend is based on their mixture; it is a strong anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial blend. It will help strengthen the immune system and also shorten the duration of an illness. Thieves is one of my favorite oils; I think every home should have it! Three hours after applying the Thieves the first time, my son's fever was down, and he was ready for bed. He slept well and woke up the next morning, no fever, and full of life as usual! I am so thankful I had the essential oils; they helped strengthen and heal his body! I didn't have to use medicines that would disrupt his DNA and just mask symptoms instead of healing. If you're interested in learning more about essential oils and the company I chose, please contact me! I'd love to share how they have helped my family and me.

 I’m on Facebook at All Oil'd Up; or you can email me at

You can view Young Living products here: And I'd love for you to use my referral/enroller number of 1452038. I'm excited to be building a team of people to help in their oil journey, so please reach out to me with any questions, or feel free to forward this information on to a friend who could benefit too! Prices listed on the website are retail; there is a wholesale option where you can get a kit of 11 oils plus a diffuser, and then qualify for 24% off any future purchases! You can choose your Premium Starter Kit here! *Please note, peppermint should be used cautiously in young children. It may cause breathing issues; if there is a known asthma issue, it may be best to use another oil, but it does work wonderfully to bring down a fever.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Couple - DON'Ts

I saw this article the other day and I thought this would be a good article to share. There are lots of blog posts about what we should be doing but this is a great reminder of things that we shouldn't be doing.  As a married woman I personally know that I can get in a rut of doing one or more of these detrimental habits.  I hope this encourages you be a better spouse. Read this article from relevantmagazine.

Last week, I saw a woman slam the car door in her husband's face and storm off inside the grocery store. Then there was the couple sitting next to me, the man staring at his phone the entire time his wife shared with him her concerns about one of their children. I saw someone post a rant on Facebook about their spouse that ended with, "MEN!"

Relationships are hard, and we've probably all done something similar to the examples above. But that doesn't excuse the cavalier mistakes we sometimes allow for in our romantic relationships. Dating and especially marriage relationships can be tools for showing Christ's love—to the other person and to those around you. Too often, we take our spouses for granted and forget that good relationships don't just happen. They take work.

It's often harder to see the good relationships, because they aren't out slamming doors and stomping around and airing grievances on social media. These are 8 things that couples should NEVER do...

1. Post Negatively About Each Other on Social Media

12-year-olds post negatively about their boyfriends or girlfriends on social media. It's a catty way to get attention and vent, when the emotionally healthy response is to talk your grievances over with your spouse when the time is right. Don't fall into the trap of getting others on your side, on social media or otherwise, because healthy marriages only have one side.

2. Make Their Career a Priority Rather Than Their Relationship

Yes, career is important. But as you are being pulled in every direction imaginable, something will get less attention, less time. Something in your life will have to be sacrificed. Your goal is to make sure that "something" isn't your relationship. You can always find another job, but you only have one chance to make it work with the love of your life.

3. Have All Their 'Together-Time' With Technology

Of course there will be plenty of times that you're together and using technology, but healthy couples know how to put down their phones and computers and turn off the TV to spend quality time together. Healthy couples don't check Twitter on dinner dates. My husband and I have a rule that we put our phones upstairs each night after work so our dinner or together-time is not interrupted.

4. Avoid Hard Subjects

Relationships are about intimacy. If you can't talk about the hard subjects, then your intimacy factor is off. There are seasons of marriage that are easy, and other seasons where you must make difficult decisions together. Nothing should be off-limits between the two of you, and conversations should always be approached with an abundance of grace and kindness.

5. Punish One Another

Punishing one another often comes out in the silent treatment or withholding sex or affection. Healthy couples know when it's good to take a break from a disagreement, but also know how to come back together and find a resolution.

6. Withhold Forgiveness

Relationships run on forgiveness. You can't have a healthy relationship without abundant forgiveness. The best relationships forgive quickly and frequently. Living with another person will always bring conflict and hurt feelings; the trick is knowing how to handle it. Forgive, and ask for forgiveness.

7. Say 'Yes' to Everything

Healthy couples have good boundaries—with family, with friends and with each other. If I've had a long week at work and my husband asks me to rally and go out with friends on Friday, whose fault is it if I get mad at him on the way home because I didn't want to go in the first place? Mine. Healthy couples know their limits, know how to ask for help, and understand that "no" is a complete sentence.

8. Throw In the Towel

Healthy couples don't give up when things are hard, even when things are really hard. If your spouse is important to you, you can get through this. Quitting is never an option for healthy couples.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Saving $$$

How I save money to be a stay at home mom. Budget and lower bills to live off one income. Here are some great ideas from Kate @ House Mix on how to save money so that you can be a stay-at-home mom. I have highlighted some of my favorites. To read them all check out her website: House Mix 


So here’s my strategy: Write a menu. Make a list. Follow the list. 

At the beginning of the week, we rough out a menu, make a list of the ingredients, and go to the grocery store. (When we’re making the menu, we also consider the food we already have on hand.) And when things have been really tight, I’ve been known to take a calculator in the store with me.
Some other grocery shopping tips to save money:
  • Buy the store brand.
  • Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean it’s the best deal. Look at the other products and prices even if they’re not discounted to compare.
  • Use the price-per-ounce printed on the shelf tag to find the better deal.
  • Look on the lower shelves for the best deal, because they put the pricier items at eye level.
  • In our grocery store, the spices in the Latino section are about half the price of the ones in the spice aisle.
  • You probably don’t have to buy two to get the “two for a dollar” deal. If you need one, just buy one for 50 cents.
Buying in bulk
If you buy something repeatedly, find the cheapest place to get it in bulk. Calculate it by how much each item in the package costs individually. For example, I did a lot of research on the cheapest place to buy diapers. I found the cheapest place by calculating the cost per diaper. (At that time it was Costco — in the store, not online.)
When shopping in the warehouse, it’s important to remember that:
  1. Not everything saves money buying in bulk.
    Sometimes it’s the same cost at the supermarket and you don’t have to devote your pantry to storage.
  2. And not everything is worth buying in bulk.
    Some things will go bad before you can use it all.
  3. A list is imperative. When very few items cost less than $10, a few extra additions to the cart will blow your budget.
Take the time to learn prices at the grocery store versus the warehouse to get the best price. 
This was our most drastic measure. We decided to cut the cord with our cable provider after frustrating service and rising costs. We don’t have time to watch all that much TV anyway, so the decision wasn't incredibly hard. We only have internet now and use it to stream Netflix and Hulu Plus through a Roku. It saves at least $50 a month. Read in full detail here.


You can unplug everything that is not in use — toaster, coffee pot, microwave, lamps you don’t frequently use, to save money. Even if it’s off, it still pulls electricity. You could even try a strip plug to unplug the computer, scanner, chargers at the same time. A friend of mine tried this during one particularly hot summer month when it seemed her AC might never turn off, and she saved $20 in a small apartment.
It consumes less energy to leave the thermostat on auto, and not turn it up and down all day. And I’ve learned to make use of the scheduling program on our AC/heater wall unit. I’ve programmed it to run less while we’re gone and at night. If you have this option, you might as well take advantage.
More electricity-saving tips:
  • Add weather stripping to any doors that aren’t sealed tight.
  • Use curtains and blinds. Keep them shut to help cool the room down, and keep them open to allow the sun to warm it up.
  • Turn lights off when no one is in the room.
  • Wait until there is a full load of laundry before running the washer. Washing in cold water uses less energy.
  • Line-dry towels and blankets that take longer time in the dryer.
  • Load the dishwasher completely full before running it. Dishwashers have actually been shown to be more efficient that washing by hand.
  • Use your microwave or toaster oven for small things instead of your oven. You will consume about half the power.
  • Consider ditching the garage fridge. It uses energy ’round the clock, and is especially draining if it is older and less efficient.
Cell phone
Our cell phone bill was astronomical. Marcello needs unlimited minutes for work, but we just couldn’t believe we needed to pay that much. We went to the cell phone desk at Costco, where they carry all the major carriers, to find out if another company was cheaper or if we needed a different plan, or something!

I get as confused as the next guy with cell phone plans, but don’t just accept outrageous monthly bills. Cut back options or find a better plan.
When we bought our house, our mortgage broker told us an incredibly useful rule of thumb.By making an extra payment a year on your home, you will cut your mortgage payoff time by eight years. In other words, you will owe the bank money for 22 years instead of 30!
I realize this doesn’t help the immediate monthly budget, but it saves a lot of money down the road. My aim for this year is to spread that extra yearly payment across 12 months and start getting to the principle of our mortgage instead of just the interest. It might not be obtainable at the beginning, but it can be a goal to keep in mind.


Baby Gap is my fave, but it doesn’t quite fit in with my baby budget. I buy most of my kids’ toys and clothes at a consignment shop called Once Upon A Child. They carry gently used clothes in great condition at half or less than the store price. I have bought many pieces there with the original price tag still on, and yes, quite a few barely-used Baby Gap pieces. I can’t tell you how much money this has saved us.
And what’s great is that when you’re done with baby gear, you can even sell it back to them. (This is not sponsored, I just love them.) There are lots of great kids consignment shops. Get out there and take a look at what you’re missing.

Another car consideration is gas. Before you make a trip somewhere, even across town, think about how much it will cost you. Check out this helpful site, Gas Buddy, that tells you how much you will have to pay site to site with your specific car. But here’s a warning: I made the mistake of telling a friend about the site, which made her realize it costs her almost $5 to drive to my house!

Car insurance

First, I did some comparisons with different companies, but didn’t find a better deal. But it’s worth it to take the time to shop around. Then, I looked at our car insurance policy online, detail by detail. By doing this you might notice some extras tacked on you may not need. I noticed that we were paying for a couple things already included in our AAA account, like roadside assistance.

Shopping, entertainment, and extras

In the beginning, extra/nonessential purchases were few and far between. But when it came time, I compared prices and researched online to get the best bang for my buck. For the nonessentials like clothes and house goods (well, guess it depends on who you ask!), my main stores were (and still are) TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross Dress for Less, Forever 21, Ikea, and Amazon.

Rejoicing: CLOTHING -> I buy my clothes at an area thrift shop. Due to pregnancy, nursing and life, my weight and clothing sizes seem to change ALOT so I can't spend alot on clothing or store 20 different sizes. So I go to thrift store that has clothes for $1. That way I'm not spending a fortune on my clothes. When I'm looking for a nicer outfit I usually go to Marshall's or Ross. When I can't wear a certain size anymore, I donate my clothes to our teenager in our youth group. They love it! 
As far as entertainment, we got a Netflix subscription in lieu of going to the movies and often invited friends over for dinner instead of going out. If we went out, a lot of times we had lunch instead of dinner. The lunch menu, while shorter, is cheaper — works better for little ones’ bedtimes too. Actually, having two young babies at the same time sort of zapped our desire to leave the house, so entertainment didn’t really pose much of a problem for us!
Especially with nonessential purchases, it’s important to wait until you have the money to buy something. Don’t buy it because you will have the money, or next month should be better. Buy it after you’ve already planned it, it’s in the budget, and the money is there. In the same tone, don’t borrow money from next month’s budget. If you’re already on a shoe-string budget, you’ll surely need it next month.

More ideas to help the bottom line

  • Grow your own herbs in pots.
  • Start a little garden with the more expensive veggies.
  • During a tight month, use up all the food in your pantry and freezer before making a trip to the grocery store.
  • Get your hair done every other month instead of every month. (I’m on the four month plan, not because of budget, just lack of time … and maybe motivation. See Mommy Style Amnesia.)
  • Learn to cut hair and save on kids’ cuts. (Those things add up. I’mexperimenting learning now while they are too little to care that it looks like Edward Scissor Hands did it!)
  • Use both sides of the Swiffer cloths.
  • Use water, vinegar, and baking soda to clean instead of buying multiple cleaners. (There are thousands of DIY cleaners on Pinterest.)

Get on the same page with your spouse

This is a tricky one, because what two people want to spend money on the one same thing? My husband would prefer to spend all our money on food and fancy ingredients. I, on the other hand, would like to spend all our money on decorating our house. But we each made a pact to stick to our budget and consult each other before purchasing things not on the list. He has expensive taste (he had Prada undershirts when I met him!), but he’s actually better at sticking to the list than me. (And I have shown him that he can buy Calvin Klein pants for $25 at Marshalls. It’s not Prada, but hey …) Discuss how your family can live within your means and spend less than what you have coming in.

Written budget and yearly expense list

You need a budget that is written out, something that you can physically look at and use to keep record.


We tithe 10 percent of our income each month, and this was not a place where we cut. We adjusted our 10 percent to no longer include my income, but we still give. And let me tell you, it is freeing. Knowing that we have that money set aside for God’s kingdom, does several things for us:
  1. Honor God.
  2. Help those on Earth do God’s work. And to help others see God’s love through those people.
  3. Keeps us from being stingy when we need to be generous. 
  4. Give and sincerely not expect anything in return.
  5. See God provide for our family. Since we got married and made the decision together to tithe, there have been countless times when money has just shown up when we were in need. I don’t mean it arrived in an envelop on the doorstep, but it came in other ways — a late wedding present, an insurance overpayment, an unexpected bonus. And in exact amounts that we needed. We never miss the money we give away. In fact, we do better.
  6. To grow closer in our relationship to God. 
If you’ve never tried tithing before, it will most definitely change your life. I once read an article that said that if you make over $40,000 you are in the richest 8 percent of the planet. That in itself encourages me to give!

The gist

  • Look at every single expense you have and be ruthless. Whack your budget to it’s bare bones, and leave only what you really can’t live without.
  • Pay off anything you can (starting with debts with the highest interest rates). Hunker down those last months you are working and really make them count. Less payments equals less stress with one income.
  • Set realistic budget goals, otherwise your budget will fail every month and  you’ll give up on it.
  • Keep track of each expense, no matter how small. This allows you to see how you’re doing on the budget during the month, and can show you where your budget need adjusting in future months.
  • Only buy things you have planned for and have the money in the bank for.
  • Keep putting some money into savings.